Kenya on Thursday picked a strong squad of 22 athletes for next month’s World Junior Championship in Moncton, Canada, from July 19 to 25.
Japan-based Jonathan Muia Ndiku and Mercy Cherono will lead the charge to reclaim the overall title that they won in Beijing in 2006 with 15 medals – six gold, seven silver and two bronze. Kenya lost to United States and Germany in Bydgoszcz, Poland, in 2008, settling for third with 11 medals – four gold, five silver and two bronze.
The two runners are among the four gold medallists in the latest edition in Poland where Cherono won in the 3,000m flat race while Ndiku triumphed in the 3,000m steeplechase.
Last year as a junior
Ndiku emerged the winner in his speciality in 8 minutes 33.7 seconds. Kiptoo Yator (8:38.2) was second after thwarting a late challenge from third-placed Hillary Yego (8:41.3) and Nelson Kipkosgei (8:46.5).
Cherono, in her last year as a junior, is set to graduate with an international display as she topped the 3,000m.
She is also expected to double in the 5,000m after she won the race in just 9:08.1 and beat Purity Cherotich (9:10.5) to second place in the 3,000m. Third-placed Chepkorir Kipkoech (9:11.0) however missed a team slot.
Emulate elder brother
World Cross Country junior men’s champion Caleb Mwangangi will try his luck in the track, having come second to Hillary Kipkorir in 1,500m.
In the 10,000m, Dennis Masai, younger brother of World 10,000m champion Linet Masai, looks out to emulate his elder brother Moses Masai, a Berlin World Championship bronze medallist, over the same distance.
Kenya will venture into new territory after selecting athletes in the sprints and field events, including national junior triple jump champion Newton Rotich, David Munyao in the 10,000m Walk and others in 400m and 400m Hurdles.
Men: Boniface Mucheru, Benjamin Nyasimi, Jeremiah Mutai, Nickson Tuwei. David Mutinda, Hilary Kipkorir, Caleb Mwangangi, Jonathan Muia Ndiku, Kiptoo Yator, David Bett, John Kipkoech, Paul Lonyangata, Dennis Masai, David Munyao, Newton Rotich
Women: Mercy Cherono, Nelly Jepkosgei, Cherono Koech, Nelly Chebet, Nancy Chepkwemoi, Purity Cherotich, Lucia Kamene, Alice Aprot